AUG 25, 2002 SUN

300 high-tech experts back, says KL

The government hopes thousands of its citizens working in Singapore and elsewhere would return to the country

KUALA LUMPUR - More than 300 Malaysian experts working in the United States and Singapore have returned to work in the country's high-tech industries.
The Malay daily, Utusan Malaysia, said that the government believed there were thousands more Malaysians working in the Republic whom the country wanted to return.
Human Resources Minister Fong Chan Onn was quoted as saying that more Malaysian expatriates would return to the country.
This was because of Malaysia's promising economic climate and incentives being offered to them, he added.
Thousands of Malaysian experts in micro-electronics and manufacturing working in Singapore and Britain had expressed their desire to work in Malaysia, the minister said.
He was speaking after visiting Silterra Malaysia Bhd's wafer-fabrication factory at Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah.
The minister said he hoped government efforts to bring back the workers would succeed soon.
Malaysia has been trying to woo thousands of its citizens who are working abroad as experts in science and technology.
Its attempts to woo them with several incentives was met with a lukewarm response last year.
Dr Fong blamed the lack of interest due to the fact that many Malaysians overseas ere not aware of the incentives.
The incentives announced in the Budget last year include income-tax exemption for income repatriation within two years, import-duty exemption on all personal belongings including two cars and permanent-resident status to non-Malaysian spouses and children within six months.
Dr Fong said workers were also reluctant to return as they were worried they would not secure the same wages as they could get overseas.
The Human Resources Ministry has set up a secretariat for a special committee, which is encouraging citizens with expertise to return to Malaysia.
The secretariat has representatives from the Economic Planning Unit, the Foreign Ministry, the Home Ministry, the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia Ministry.